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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Locus of control and psychosocial adjustment to chronic pain Hooge, Brenda Lee Sawyer


This study sought to examine the relationships between locus of control, psychosocial adjustment to chronic pain, and reported levels of pain for chronic pain patients who had completed an in-patient, multidisciplinary pain treatment program. The sample consisted of forty one individuals drawn from British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan all of whom had completed a pain treatment program in Vancouver, British Columbia during the years 1979-1982. All individuals completed the following questionnaires: a Biographical Information Questionnaire, Rotter's Locus of Control Scale, the Adjustment to Chronic Pain Scale (ACPS), and the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Five hypotheses were tested. Hypotheses One, Two, and Three were tested using Pearson Product-Moment correlation coefficients to establish the relationships between variables. Hypotheses Four and Five were tested using independent groups t-tests for the difference between means to determine if there was a statistically significant difference between the means of the two groups on different variables of psychosocial adjustment to chronic pain. Significant negative correlations were found for females between the Locus of Control scores and the ACPS scores suggesting a relationship between an internal locus of control and poor psychosocial adjustment. Similarly, a significant interaction was found between internality and high levels of reported pain for females. For males, a significant correlation was found between external locus of control and high levels of reported pain. A secondary analysis found a significant curvilinear relationship between the extremes of locus of control (i.e. high internals and high externals) and poor psychosocial adjustment to chronic pain. Implications for the constructive use of the locus of control measure as a therapeutic intervention strategy in counselling chronic pain patients are discussed.

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